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Delegates working together at Cradle Mountain Water
DELEGATES are sharing the load on the North-West Coast. At Cradle Mountain Water three men are striving to help Members and make the organisation a better place to work. Recently two of these Delegates, Rohan Heazlewood (left) and Greg Rooke (right), spoke to the CPSU about their union roles, their work and a little about who they are outside the workplace.
What’s your role at Cradle Mountain Water?
Greg: I’m a Development Assessor. That means I’m the first port of call for people looking at building anything that might need a connection or is in close proximity to existing infrastructure – anything from a shed to a superstore.
I cover the whole North-West Coast, King Island and down beyond Queenstown but I mainly only service the western extremes of the Central Coast Council area and just west of there. Prior to the inception of Cradle Mountain Water I was with Cradle Coast Water.
Rohan: I’m a Team Leader Electrical and instrument services, which is mainly maintenance of electrical and electronic equipment. I have to travel a lot, we cover from Queenstown to Port Sorell, and I do on average 800km a week.
How long have you been a Delegate at Cradle Mountain Water and why did you take on the role?
Greg: I’ve been in this role for about a year and a half. Trying to make enough time to attend to members’ needs was too much for one person, so I wanted to help out. I’ve been doing a lot of work with a proposed alcohol and other drugs policy, which could have quite significant ramifications if it comes into the workplace. We have a lot of work to do to try and protect conditions that have been established in the industry.
Rohan: A bit over two-and-a-half years. We had Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiation and I wanted to have some input into that.
Recently I’ve been working on the pay point progression review and that’s been my main focus.
Is it helpful to have other Delegates at Cradle Mountain Water?
Greg: It means one person doesn’t have to do everything. We work together as a team and we always keep in contact with each other and share information.
Rohan: We have members spread out everywhere, so it helps. Greg is based in the Devonport shop front and Ian Hope (third CPSU delegate) and I are at the Forth office.
What’s been your most rewarding experience as a Delegate so far?
Greg: I think it’s rewarding that people feel that they can come to you with their concerns and questions. I like to help as quickly as I can to give members assurance we are looking after their interests.
Also, currently I’m working on policies and procedures that are being reviewed, which has certainly been an interesting area to look into because it could have long term effects on our industry and workplace.
Rohan: I guess playing a part in being able to get a better outcome for something, especially with the EA. Although the EA wasn’t to my satisfaction, it was still a lot better than what we would have been able to get without the input. With the EA it was my first ever go at negotiating. It’s a steep learning curb as well – I got a lot out of it. It’s easy to sit back and point the finger but until you’re negotiating an outcome, you don’t realize it’s not easy.
As a Delegate what do you find challenging?
Greg: The biggest challenge would be trying to balance your time. You need to do a lot of research, checking and communicating with specialised people within the union structure. It’s challenging to balance this when you already have quite a heavy workload. You can spread yourself too thin – that’s why it’s good there are three of us. You also have to keep one eye over your shoulder, with new policies and structures being created on a daily basis.
Rohan: Balancing time between a heavy work load and union work is a challenge. A lot of work in my role as delegate is reactive, so we need to be flexible.
What advice do you have for new Delegates?
Greg: For young delegates – get as much experience as much professional advice from your experienced officers. Also develop your negotiating skills and how to handle what could be volatile situations. With experience you can diffuse these situations. Stay on top of developments – with changes of government and new policies the impact can be significant. Also be self-aware, don’t trick yourself into a false sense of security thinking you know everything about being a delegate because it changes all the time.
Rohan: Be a good listener, I think. Listen to advice from union officials and listen to your representatives as well. It’s not always easy being a delegate but when you do get that rare win, it’s worth it. Also as a delegate you realise that being unified you achieve a lot more than you would as an individual.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Greg: I’m involved in motorsport, particularly powerboat racing. I’m part of the Australian Powerboat Association and travel all around Australia. It’s considered a very risky activity and there’s a lot of work behind the scenes. Like the union, many hands make light work. It’s not cheap either, with costs like liability insurance. It takes up a lot of my spare time. It’s a summer sport but can go all year round Australia wide because the weather is always good somewhere. In Tasmania the season runs from November until May. There are two more events on the Tasmanian calendar, with the next event at Rosevears.
Rohan: Golf is probably my biggest passion. My course is the Penguin Golf Course. But I don’t go often enough. I’ve also got two small children as well, which keeps me busy. Children and family are very important to me. I also like going camping and fishing.